Piers Akerman’s response to being busted for fabricating a quote is simply dishonest. For instance:
The little Crikey website had a defamatory reference to The Independent and me, clearly unsupported by any research.
If you read the story in The Independent, you will see that The Independent verified that the bogus quote did not appear in Houghton’s book as Akerman claimed. They also contacted Houghton who emphatically denied saying anything like it. They also searched for all mentions of the bogus quote on the Internet and found that the very first one was by Akerman. They also contacted Akerman who told them that he could not remember where the quote came from. That’s plenty of research.
The ABC’s MediaWatch was next with a piece in which The Independent’s claim it had received no response from me was repeated.
This is exactly the opposite of the truth. MediaWatch actually published Akerman’s response to The Independent:
He said that he cannot remember where he got the quote from but was going to check through some material he has. Not heard from him since.
— Response from Steve Connor (reporter, The Independent) to Media Watch, 11th February, 2010
That was patently false but then The Independent was not interested in accuracy.
Who to believe, Akerman, or your lying eyes?
Yesterday I was forwarded an article published in The Sunday Telegraph (UK) on September 10, 1995, in which Houghton told writer Frances Welch: “If we want a good environmental policy in the future we’ll have to have a disaster.”
Even taken out of context, the meaning is completely different from the quote Akerman fabricated. Here’s the full quote:
“If we want a good environmental policy in the future, we’ll have to have a disaster. It’s like safety on public transport. The only way humans will act is if there’s been an accident.”
Compare with the fabricated quote:
“Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.”
The meaning of what Houghton actually said is that we won’t get action until there is a disaster, while the fabricated quote has him advocating exaggeration.
How that remark came to be slightly paraphrased in the quotation sent to me we shall probably never know. It’s possible that someone, somewhere in cyberspace tidied up Houghton’s original remark before including it in the material which was sent to me. That sort of thing occurs in the blogosphere.
Except that the bogus quote is not any kind of paraphrase. And it didn’t appear on nay blog until after Akerman had printed it. And notice the crackerjack fact-checking process that goes into Akerman’s work. If someone, somewhere in cyberspace, emails him something, then bang! it’s straight into one of columns as long as it appeals to his prejudices. He is so asking to be punked here. Not that I’m suggesting that any of my readers do anything like that.
He also blamed a series of US tornados on AGW – another furphy from the former head of the IPCC. And he stated: “Global warming is already upon us. The World Meteorological Organisation warned this month that extreme weather events seem to be becoming more frequent as a result.”
In fact there has been no scientific evidence produced which links any extreme weather event to AGW
In fact, Houghton doesn’t operate like Akerman and base his material on random emails from “someone, somewhere in cyberspace”. Houghton was referring to this WMO press release. It’s possible that the WMO is wrong, but it is not correct to claim that there is no scientific evidence for their position.
And inevitably Akerman gets to this:
even the East Anglia Climatic Research Unit head Phil Jones (currently stood down and under investigation) has now admitted there has been no “statistically significant” warming in the past 15 years – the period in which Houghton was warning of AGW being akin to WMD.
Yes, Akerman doesn’t know what “statistically significant” means. Tamino has a good explanation for people who don’t get it.
And Akerman is deservedly getting roasted in the comments to his post. The blustering responses from Akerman are priceless.